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Dublin: 0°C Saturday 23 January 2021
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Roach may be confident but Khan needs to be vigilant

Amir Khan steps into the ring against Lamont Peterson knowing that overconfidence could be his undoing…

Image: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP/Press Association Images

IT’S HARD TO look past Amir Khan when picking a winner of his fight against Lamont Peterson tonight, but if Khan looks past his opponent then he’s likely to regret it.

Like Khan, Peterson has just one defeat to his name, and though he is not the big draw for tonight’s contest (SKY Sports 1, 11pm), he will be entering the biggest fight of his life in front of his home fans. He’ll also be highly motivated, having lost his first attempt at capturing a world title two years ago. On that night, Peterson dropped a 12 round decision to Timothy Bradley (who incidentally passed on the chance to fight Khan tonight) but since then he has been unbeaten in three, and outfought Victor Ortiz en route to a draw on the undercard of Khan-Maidana this weekend last year.

Khan’s trainer Freddie Roach is confident that his man will win tonight. He says “the key to victory is to stay off the ropes, keep boxing – and he will take care of this guy. (Peterson) has got some guts. He came back well against Ortiz – although I thought Ortiz won the fight – and he can punch a little bit.”

However, if Amir Khan thinks his opponent can only punch a “little”, then he will be surprised, and maybe even caught out.

Peterson may not be the world’s biggest puncher, but his last three wins have come inside the distance, while Khan has already shown that he occasionally underestimates opponents. He may have won every round against Dungiven’s Paul McCloskey in April, but that night in Manchester did not go to plan at all, and had the fight gone on past the sixth round then it is possible that Dudey could have caused a big shock. A similar mistake tonight may seem unlikely, but is not unthinkable. Khan needs to be alert.

However, Amir should win tonight, perhaps even inside the distance. He has the skills to become one of the best in the world, but only if he maintains his poise inside the ring during tricky tests such as tonight. If he fails to do that, against a hungry and motivated opponent, he will find that there is no worse place in sport to be ill-prepared than inside the ring.

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Tonight was also due to have seen a Heavyweight title fight between Wladimir Klitschko and Jean-Marc Mormeck, but the contest was called off five days from fight night after the Ukrainian had two surgeries to remove kidney stones.

The kidney stone may just be the smallest object to ever floor a Heavyweight champion, and tonight’s postponement is also a disappointment for those who were looking forward to what would have been a reasonably compelling contest.  The fight will now be rescheduled, likely until March 3rd.  As for the undercard fights, they were held in a Dusseldorf hotel last night – in the biggest remaining contest, middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin knocked out Lajuan Simon in the first.


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This week saw the airing of an ITV documentary on the brutal 1995 fight between Gerald McClellan, and also it’s tragic aftermath. The documentary was brilliantly made, and if you missed it, an extended version will air on ITV4 this Tuesday at 9:00.

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This Week In Boxing History

As a relatively young boxing fan, I yearn for the days when the sport was at its zenith, and when fights truly captured the public’s imagination in the way that big football, rugby and GAA games do now.  The reason that the names of Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Frank Bruno resonate now – simply, they connected with the public, and their fights were widely available on television. Seldom does this happen now, though Bernard Dunne’s latter fights certainly drew in the crowds, but in recent times the most striking example came on December 8th, 2007.

Ricky Hatton was unbeaten when he travelled to Las Vegas for the biggest fight of his career against Floyd Mayweather. The build-up was extraordinary – 6,000 Brits attended the weigh-in alone while back at home, the SKY pay-per-view of the fight was bought by 1.2 million fans, even though it aired in the early hours of the morning.

Though Hatton didn’t win, his performance didn’t disappoint. He was game, he gave his all but ultimately he would fall short when he was knocked out in the tenth round.  Financially, however, few sportsmen have had as successful a night, and his bank balance would be as secure as his place in British boxing history as a result.

Un-caged: Machida’s nightmare before Christmas >

About the author:

Gavin Grace

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